Feelings all the time run excessive with gamers on NFL Sundays.
Within the case of the sport between the Dolphins (8-3) and the 49ers (7-4) on Sunday in Santa Clara, Calif., the feelings on each sidelines determine to be heightened as a result of the 2 competing head coaches are as thick as thieves.
Dolphins first-year head coach Mike McDaniel was the 49ers’ offensive coordinator earlier than this job and may be very shut together with his former boss, San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan. McDaniel spoke this week about his dedication to not permit his private emotions cloud the job he must do Sunday to assist his staff win.
“The gamers, the individuals within the constructing and the teaching employees, everyone seems to be relying on me to do my job,’’ McDaniel mentioned. “I straight have an effect on lots of people in that regard. I believe it’s extremely insulting to so many alternative avenues, individuals within the constructing, the group, the followers, if I’m nervous about, ‘Wow, that is the place I used to [work].’ ’’
The Dolphins enter the sport having gained their previous 5 video games and in first place within the AFC East. The 49ers have gained their previous 4 video games.
“They’ve an excellent staff, coached very nicely, and so they play actually laborious,” McDaniel mentioned. “And what a beautiful alternative for us to go on the street and play a staff that you need to earn every part you get. So, that is simply nice soccer between two groups that haven’t misplaced in a minute, and usually if you haven’t misplaced in a minute, you don’t wish to really feel that [losing] feeling.
Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel with quarterback Tua TagovailoaGetty Pictures
“So, there’s lots of incentive on each side to make it possible for they find yourself on high. And isn’t that why we do soccer?”
McDaniel labored with Shanahan for 9 seasons on 4 NFL groups earlier than becoming a member of Shanahan’s 49ers employees in 2017 as a run-game coordinator. He was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2021. McDaniel was with Shanahan with Houston (2006-08), Washington (2011-13), Cleveland (2014), Atlanta (2015-16) and at last with San Francisco (2017-21).
“I’m laborious to eliminate,” McDaniel joked this week. “I believe I acknowledged [Shanahan] as an formidable coach that obtained into it to assist gamers. I acknowledged in him early that he actually might assist gamers develop and reside out their goals. He knew greater than anyone that I’d been round about soccer so that you attempt to be a useful resource and also you attempt to not miss alternatives, particularly ones proper in entrance your face.
Jimmy G and Kyle Shanahan.Getty Pictures
“It was an excellent working relationship that I’m very a lot grateful, indebted and actually don’t know the place I’d be with out it.”
As they’ve ready for the Dolphins this week, 49ers defensive gamers felt as in the event that they had been watching their very own offense in some ways.
“It’s our offensive scheme, and McDaniel does a very good job of blending issues up,” 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans instructed reporters this week. “Not too many performs are the identical. He finds a solution to get totally different gamers in numerous positions, lots of totally different seems to be, lots of totally different motions to get defenses confused and all these items which are happening. So, he does a very good job of making area.”
Niners linebacker Fred Warner known as it “like coaching camp” watching the Dolphins’ offense with all of its acquainted pre-snap movement motion.
“Clearly, that’s one thing we cope with all coaching camp in opposition to our offense,’’ Warner mentioned. “That’ll be useful in enjoying a staff like this. It’s about being disciplined in your suits … figuring out the place your eyes are going and finally simply executing your task.”
Shanahan known as it “cool to look at’’ McDaniel construct his staff into an offensive energy with the offseason acquisition of speedster receiver Tyreek Hill, who has helped make quarterback Tua Tagovailoa among the many finest within the league.
Tyreek HillGetty Pictures
“Proper when he obtained Tyreek, you knew how a lot that was going to assist,’’ Shanahan mentioned. “There’s numerous quick individuals on this league and to me he’s totally different than everybody else, most likely ever simply [with] the physicality and velocity he runs with. The query was watching Tua within the offense and I wasn’t completely positive of that and I keep in mind turning it on within the preseason and watching his first sport and I used to be like, ‘Wow, this man seems to be completely totally different and appears very comfy.’ ’’
Tagovailoa has thrown for two,564 yards and 19 TDs in 9 video games. Hill has 87 receptions for 1,233 yards and 4 TDs — numbers that might be spectacular for a full season — in 11 video games.
“[McDaniel] is doing an excellent job together with his personnel,’’ Shanahan mentioned.
He ought to know.